Just 48 days after the longest and weirdest Premier League season ever ended, it all kicks off again.
There are four fixtures on Saturday, two on Sunday and two more on Monday evening – while the Manchester clubs must wait another week before they return.
Every weekend we will bring you the fullest, most comprehensive – and most informative betting preview out there, based on tips from our team of regional writers who watch their teams week in week out.
So dig in!
Fulham vs Arsenal – Saturday, 12.30pm
For Evertonians Mikel Arteta was the “best little Spaniard we know!”
Cesc Fabregas is probably top of The Gunners’ Hispanic hit parade, but their fledgling coach could be heading for No.1
Arteta starts his first full season as Arsenal boss with two pieces of silverware already to his name – the FA Cup and the Community Shield – and if he is going to improve on last season’s eighth place Premier League finish he needs to find a cure for The Gunners’ travel sickness.
Arsenal finished last term with just two wins from their last 11 league games on the road – and just four away wins in the whole of the 2019-20 Premier League campaign.
Two of those were under Arteta’s stewardship, though, at Southampton and Wolves – and with the Wembley outing against Liverpool helping to shake off pre-season ring rust they are justified 4/7 favourites with thepools.com to start with a win.
Fulham might have ended last season winning 10 of 13 home fixtures, including the scalps of Championship winners Leeds and Premier League Aston Villa, but their recent head to head with Arsenal is not encouraging.
Fulham have lost five and drawn one of the past six meetings and they went down 5-1 when this fixture was last played in October 2018.
We can’t see past an Arsenal victory – explosively.
The Gunners have scored 11 first-half goals in their last 12 competitive matches while Fulham have scored in the first 45 minutes in just two of their last seven competitive matches. Arsenal to win the first half is 23/20 while Arsenal half-time Arsenal full-time is 11/8.
In seven of those last 12 Arsenal outings matches Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored in the first half and he is 9/4 to score the opening goal.
Fulham did score 64 times in the league last term and are capable of scoring at least once.
Neeskens Kebano scored five goals in Fulham’s last five games of last season and is a 5/1 anytime scorer.
The super Serb scored a respectable 11 goals for The Cottagers when they were relegated in 2018/19, is Fulham’s penalty taker and has a habit of hitting the ground running.
He scored for Serbia against Russia this week, scored seven in his first eight appearances of last season and six in his first eight the previous season.
Arsenal to win first half 23/20. Bet here:
Both Teams To Score and either team to win 6/4 Bet here:
Aubameyang first goal 9/4 Bet here:
Crystal Palace vs Southampton – Saturday 3pm
It is safe to say that Crystal Palace do not have the easiest of starts if last season is anything to go by.
Southampton’s fantastic run in 2020 and during Project Restart would have tipped the south coast side to a top six challenge if the league started in January.
Roy Hodgson will be feeling the pressure just from keeping Wilfried Zaha in the squad this transfer window and only signing Eberechie Eze in their attack.
Their defence will be looking at stopping Danny Ings whose return to goalscoring form saw him picked in Gareth Southgate’s latest England squad and with the delayed European Championships next summer, the former Liverpool man will be looking to make his case loud and clear this season.
The striker is 9/2 to score first at Selhurst Park.
In the midfield, expect Ralph Hasenhuttl to trust Nathan Redmond to improve on his attacking stats. The winger scored five and created six assists – with three coming in the last four matches last season.
Redmond is 11/1 to score first or 17/4 to score anytime with thepools.com.
In terms of their recent meetings, Palace fans should look away but the pricing suggests otherwise. Palace are 11/5 with thepools.com while their visitors are 13/10 – surprising considering the Eagles have only won once in their last seven outings.
Perhaps we could see a clinical performance from new signing Eze as he makes his mark in the Premier League.
The attacking midfielder scored 14 goals and achieved 8 assists last season for QPR before moving to south-east London and is 11/2 to score first this weekend. However, considering the threat Ings presents, I would go with the safer anytime odds of 21/10 with thepools.com.
Both teams to score and either team to win is 15/8.
Danny Ings to score first 9/2
Both teams to score and either team to win 15/8
Liverpool vs Leeds United – Saturday 5.30pm
The champions haven’t lost a Premier League match at Anfield – fans or no fans – since April 2017, which is THREE full league campaigns and FIFTY-NINE matches ago.
Jurgen Klopp’s home rulers are actually closing on an all time club record of unbeaten Anfield league games, 63 by Bob Paisley’s all-conquering side of the late 70s.
It isn’t happening though. That Burnley draw was the exception which proves the rule. The Reds have won 25 of the last 26 Premier League matches at Anfield.
Liverpool made a flying start to their title winning Premier League season and are likely to do so again.
So where’s the value?
Mo Salah could be a fruitful first scorer tip at 11/4 .
Anfield’s Egyptian King is as quick out of the scoring blocks as he is in a dash down the flank.
He has scored on the opening weekend in each of the last three seasons – and if he achieves the feat for the fourth successive season he will match the Premier League record held by Teddy Sheringham.
He’s 8/11 to score anytime in the match.
Goals look as good as guaranteed at Anfield.
Liverpool scored 85 goals in the Premier League last season, a total eclipsed only by Manchester City, while Leeds racked up 77 in the Championshp. Liverpool to win and Over 2.5 goals in the match is 7/10. The Reds and Over 3.5 is 8/5.
And good though Alisson, van Dijk, Gomez and co are, Liverpool have kept clean sheets on just three of their last 16 outings.
Either team to win and Both Teams To Score is 7/5 .
Either team to win and BTTS 7/5 Bet here
Mo Salah first scorer 11/4 Bet here
West Ham vs Newcastle – Saturday 8pm
It’s safe to say this is not the build-up West Ham had in mind.
The sale of a promising young player and the club captain going on record to say he is not okay with it shows the growing frustration the club’s owners have with the fans.
David Moyes has the challenge to improve on West Ham’s league performance from last season. But with Grady Diangana going to potential relegation rivals West Brom and no new faces coming in to strengthen the side, it’s a real kick in the teeth for the Scot.
In contrast, Newcastle have had a brilliant transfer window despite a collapse in their takeover deal – including the signing of Callum Wilson.
The striker looks set to make his debut at the London Stadium and his record shows he loves a match against the Irons.
Wilson has scored seven in his eight meetings against the east London side and he will be keen to make his mark for his new side.
The potential link up play with midfielder Ryan Fraser is an added bonus to help the players gel with their new teammates as soon as possible.
For West Ham, they will have a tough challenge to get their attack working but a pre-season under David Moyes could be the difference for the likes of Michail Antonio and Seb Haller at 4/1 and 11/2 to score first respectively.
The hosts could paper over the cracks with what is going on off-the-pitch and find the form that saw them beat the Magpies 2-0 back in March 2019 – the last time they picked up a win against Steve Bruce’s side.
Overall, I am expecting no clean sheets and both teams to go on the attack. However, I am expecting Newcastle to go home with all three points.
Callum Wilson to score first 6/1
Newcastle United to win and both teams to score 11/2
West Brom vs Leicester – Sunday 2pm
Successful seasons, sure, but both sides limped to the finish six weeks ago.
The Baggies won just three of their last 11 Championship fixtures to stumble across the promotion finishing line.
Leicester were denied a Champions League place on the final day, winning just four of their last 17 fixtures – a miserable run which included an eight-game winless away run (D3, L5).
So who will be the more refreshed at The Hawthorns?
The Baggies’ only transfer business of note this summer has been the permanent signings of loan duo Matheus Pereira and Grady Diangana from Sporting CP and West Ham respectively.
Leicester have lost the enormously influential Ben Chilwell, but have replaced him with Belgian international Timothy Castagne from Atalanta.
So here’s the key stats.
- Leicester won 13 out of 18 points against promoted teams last season, losing just one of six fixtures.
- Only three clubs kept more clean sheets in the Premier League than Leicester last season (13).
- Leicester scored exactly two goals in 10 of their 18 league wins in 2019/20.
- West Brom kept just five clean sheets in 23 Championship home matches in 2019/20.
- Leicester have won their last four PL trips to The Hawthorns – their joint-best away H2H streak against any side.
Leicester to win to Nil – 11/5 Bet here
Tottenham vs Everton – Sunday, 4.30pm
Spurs scored first pre-season, beating Everton to the signing of Southampton midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg. But the Blues bounced back to win 3-1 with the impressive looking additions of Allan, Abdoulaye Doucore and James Rodriguez.
But will that be enough to end a miserable run of form in North-East London?
Everton have taken only four points on their last 12 visits to Tottenham.
They haven’t won there since a trio of back to back wins between 2006 and 2008 – and Spurs are unbeaten in their last 15 Premier League duels home and away against the Blues.
But this is enormously unpredictable.
Everton could field an entirely new midfield to the Davies, Gomes, Sigurdsson and Iwobi axis which lost to a Michael Keane own goal in July.
Spurs also have Hojbjerg and Matt Doherty to call on.
Tottenham have played one pre-season friendly – losing 2-1 at Watford, while Everton drew 3-3 at Blackpool before a mix of youngsters and senior stars beat Preston North End 2-0.
Given that unpredictability 3/1 on the Toffees looks tempting, especially when you consider that while Spurs might sit fourth in the Premier League standings based on points collected during the Mourinho era, the Expected Goals (xG) table puts them down in 10th.
And if you’re backing the Blues, Richarlison scored in his first two matches of the 2018/19 season and in his fourth and fifth appearances of last season – and is 6/1 to score the first goal at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and 21/10 to score at any time.
Everton’s record at the ‘Top Six’ sides is ropy, but they have managed to score on six of their last 12 trips to these venues. Even more convincingly, BTTS has yielded a profit in 62% of Jose Mourinho’s league matches in charge at Spurs, while 60% of the same market applies since Carlo Ancelotti arrived on Merseyside.
Everton to win – 3/1 Bet here:
Richarlison first goal – 6/1 Bet here: